For illustrated talks on natural history and history see www.peterlovetttalks.co.uk

For illustrated talks on natural history and history click here for www.peterlovetttalks.co.uk

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Some insects in a West Sussex garden today and controlling aphids on Runner bean plants

 A walk around my garden today revealed a wide range of insects, for example Oedemera nobilis, Thick-legged flower beetle, https://www.buglife.org.uk/bugs-and-habitats/thick-legged-flower-beetle
Aphid on dandelion flower.
 Click on any picture to expand it.
Oedemera nobilis, Thick-legged flower beetle

 Self-sown poppies were enjoyed by an undefined bumblebee.

This looks like a Harlequin ladybird on runner beans.
 Ladybirds and their larvae are predators of black fly, which are plentiful on my beans.
Black flies
 Aphids have many natural enemies, including ladybirds, hoverfly larvae, lacewing larvae and several parasitic wasps.  Plants in flower should not be sprayed due to the danger to bees and other pollinating insects. Source: RHS  My beans are left to their own devices and the good work of aphid predators.
This solitary bee is smothered in pollen and looks as though it has done a good job pollinating the bean flowers.





 Yellow Rattle is going to seed now.  It is an annual and moves around the garden with the seed dispersal. 
The wildflower lawn is attractive to many insects.  Here a Red-tailed Bumblebee male possibly as it is not collecting pollen.  Or might it be a cuckoo bee?

Above a Red-tailed Bumblebee worker with pollen baskets feeding on clover in the lawn.

 With dark wings and short hairs on its legs this might be a Field Cuckoo Bee, Bombus campestris.



 A harlequin ladybird larva on a bramble leaf.
 Mating Meadow Brown butterflies.


Female Meadow Brown
 



Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Orchids, birds and plants of Ashdown Forest yesterday

 It was a dry and warm day yesterday when Silver-studded blue butterflies were looked for on Ashdown Forest.  None was seen.  They are late this year as confirmed by Tom, who was walking a transept for Butterfly Conservation Sussex.
Some birds and butterfles made up for that though - once the stench of dog muck diminished as one left the car park behind.
Almost every the dog walker ignored the signs to remove muck and keep dogs on leads to protect nesting birds.
Heath Bedstraw

Heath Bedstraw



Bell Heather, Erica cinerea

Common Heath Moth, male

Stonechat female

Stonechat female

Grasshopper
  
Stonechat male

Stonechat male


Burned area with orchids
 The trees may be dead but the grass and orchids survived.
Heath-spotted orchid

Heath Milkwort


Dead moss

Dead moss

Cross-leaved Heath, Erica tetralix

Heath-spotted orchid

Heath-spotted orchid

Orchids

Tormentil, Potentilla erecta




Skylark or Woodlark?
In reply to Peter Lovett's query about the lark, it is certainly difficult to tell from the images. I am certainly not an expert in the area, but I would, very apologetically, have to suggest that maybe this is a Skylark? From the pictures, it would appear that the bird is not that small - probably just short of Starling size - and there is not much of a facial pattern visible, as you might expect, even at that distance. The facial patterns of any plumage of Skylark I believe are not very clear cut, as this would appear. I am very sorry to have to suggest this, but I hope that either someone has a better suggestion for identification, or that you see a Woodlark soon!

posted by William Arrowsmith on 18 Jun 2019 17:28

My thanks to William for his advice, Peter Lovett





Small Tortoiseshell

Small Tortoiseshell

Small Tortoiseshell

Small Tortoiseshell

Small Tortoiseshell

Small Tortoiseshell

One pond that missed being stirred up by loose dogs




Yellowhammer

Yellowhammer

Yellowhammer

Heath-spotted orchid amongst bracken


Click on any picture to expand it.
See also https://sussexrambler.blogspot.com/search?q=ashdown+silver for a more successful day last year.

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